Twin Trip: Twin Trip

twin tripTwin Trip: Twin Trip
This self-titled concept album is the first from Twin Trip, which was made up of vocalist/songwriter/multi-instumentalist Felix Penny and drummer Micah Van Hove when the album was recorded (Van Hove has since left; keyboardist/guitarist Gigie Hall and bassist Eric Olsen later joined.) Influence from David Bowie, Radiohead, and classical music can be heard throughout the album. Classical influences manifest themselves through familiar ascents and descents as well as a piano and strings to accompany the punchy guitar and drums. As a concept album, there’s a story being told both lyrically and sonically. The band claims the story is subtle, told through recurring themes. There are definite themes of outer space, insanity, love, separation from a lover, the circus/clowns, but despite listening to the album nearly a dozen times I still have not found the story.
The first few songs blend together so smoothly that you almost have to check if a new track has started. After about the fifth song, this is not an issue. In fact, some of the songs are so dramatically different that sound like they belong not just on a different album, but like they are from a different artist. Radiohead and Bowie’s influence can be heard on the first few tracks, there’s “Space Oddity” hints in many of the songs. Pretty songs “Lullaby for a Xenophile” and “Man on the Moon” give a feeling a floating through space through the airy guitar plucking. Then there are some unique tracks. “Four Wise Monkeys” has a dance beat; if Chromeo went mad and started writing songs about insanity and monkeys in their brains, it would be similar to this.  It is followed by “I Dream of You,” a simple love song that builds into a piano- and cello-fueled instrumental break. Next up is “Brain Dead,” which sounds like mid-90s grunge with some mainstream polish.  Insanity is a recurring theme in the lyrics throughout the whole album, so perhaps the strange mixture of genres is a reflection of manic and depressive moods while the smooth transitions at the beginning of the album mark a time of stability.
It’s difficult to choose a recommended one track due to how different many songs on the album are. The stand-out songs are “Born to Kill” and “Lullaby for a Xenophile.” “Born to Kill” starts with fast-paced guitar and features beautiful piano parts. This Muse-like track suits Penny’s vocals perfectly. “Lullaby” is built on ascending and descending emotionally-charged vocals, guitar effects, beautiful strings, plus prominent drums and cymbals. If I were to rate just “Lullaby,” the song would earn a nine. Neither of these stand-out songs are indicative of the sound of the rest of the album and have little in common with the other tracks. The MP3 below, “Heavy Load,” is a better indication of some of the sounds on the album as it contains many of the themes in the lyrics and sounds. It’s the second song on the album, from the “period of stability” I mentioned earlier. Since the tracks are so different from one another, you’ll likely find a song you enjoy if not the entire album.
Rating: 7.7/10
MP3: Twin Trip “Heavy Load”

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